When I'm stopped at a red light I always find it fascinating to look at what other drivers are doing, especially if I can't see their whole faces. I don't know, maybe that's kind of creepy, but I'm always curious to guess what the person looks like from their hands or elbows or ears, to know what it is they're thinking about or where they're going. There are so many stories happening all around, all the time--in my worst moments it almost feels like I'm drowning in them, but in my best it's inspiring.
I keep taking this picture. I don't know how many times it's been now, and most of them I don't keep, but I still keep taking it.
Lately I've been worrying that I've begun to repeat myself photographically, like maybe I've run out of things to say. I've been frustrated because I think it's true. And yet I still can't stop myself from taking this picture.
I keep hearing that an artist--especially a photographer, and especially a photographer who takes pictures of his own family--needs to avoid sentimentality. And I think that's true, so maybe I'm not much of an artist. Maybe I never will be. Would that be OK with me? I think it should be, but I suspect it might not. Either way, I can't not take this picture.
At some point I won't be able to take this picture anymore, because he'll be old enough to bathe himself. And then because he'll be grown up and gone from the house. I take this picture over and over again because I can't help being overwhelmed by how beautiful it is, and I suppose because I'm aware of how little time I have left to take it.
I had a reviewer tell me once that photographs--artistic photographs, anyway--needed to be about more than making memories permanent, and I agree. I tell myself that I have loftier reasons for taking pictures: that a story shared can be transformative for both the listener and the speaker; that photography is my way of working through and understanding the experiences of my life, experiences that are both personal and universal; that I simply want to make something beautiful and put it into the world. And maybe all that is true. I hope it is. But I think maybe I really take pictures because my life goes by so fast, and I need to slow it down, to give myself something to hold onto.
Is that a good enough reason? It's good enough to keep me doing it. But maybe it's not enough to make me the kind of artist I'd like to be. I don't know why I care about that--I think I ought to know, but so far it's been too much to get my arms around.
But, whatever. It's a nice picture. Juliette will like it. It's enough.
Yesterday we went to Mission Beach and paid four dollars for a serving of cherry-flavored shaved ice that was truly ridiculous in size. I'm pretty sure it was bigger than Jason's head. Passers-by were actually pointing at it and laughing, it was so big. Between the fact that there was so much of it and the fact that it didn't really taste very good, none of us were terribly put out when we spilled some.
This is Eva and her Tico Rico (as he's been called ever since a two-year-old Jason was unable to properly pronounce the Spanish word for "uncle"). For the first couple of months after she first met her Tico, Eva would burst into tears whenever he entered the room. Now, though, she adores him. This is actually a rare shot of her being near him without a huge smile.